Six Months into a global pandemic and we’ve found the silver lining for Jets season-ticket holders. Covid-19 restrictions will save fans from subjecting themselves to spending their time and money to watch this team in person. Fanatics would never prioritize their sanity over watching their favorite team. But Covid-19 made this decision for you and on this Sunday you will be grateful for this small silver lining.
For the record this preview wasn’t originally going to start with an introduction like this. It certainly wasn’t going to be positive, but not nearly this negative. Then Adam Gase announced Jamison Crowder will be out with a hamstring injury so, here we are.
WHEN: Sunday, September 20, 1 pm
WHERE: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
Jets – OUT: WR Jamison Crowder (hamstring) QB Joe Flacco (neck) QUESTIONABLE: LB Tarell Basham (hip) RB La’Mical Perine (ankle) LB Avery Williamson (hamstring)
49ers – OUT: TE George Kittle (knee) CB Jason Verrett (hamstring) QUESTIONABLE: DE Dee Ford (neck)
KEYS TO THE GAME
Mekhi Becton Vs. Nick Bosa – The Jets offensive line held up better than expected against the Bills last week. This week they face an even tougher matchup up front. The Bills have a better all-around defense due to a far superior secondary than the 49ers have, but who cares about a crappy secondary when you have no receivers to exploit said secondary?
Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead, Dee Ford and rookie Javon Kinlaw will all look to feast on the Jets OL. But the key to giving Darnold time for these receivers to get open (they’re going to need a lot of time) will be Becton holding his own against Bosa. Or maybe it won’t actually matter at all. Becton could dominate Bosa the entire game and the Jets could still lose. But Becton was the one thing Jets fans could feel good about on offense after last week so focus on him again this week as you look for any sliver of hope.
Stop the 49ers Rushing Attack – Jimmy Garoppolo isn’t scaring anyone, not even Jets fans. But the 49ers rushing attack should. The 49ers defense is almost certain to regress from last year, they’re also as banged up at receiver as the Jets are, but this rushing attack has gotten even better. How? The addition of left tackle Trent Williams.
Trent Williams reminded the entire NFL exactly how dominate he is. If you had questions about his health, or if his level of play would slip with all the time off, now you know he looked as dominate as ever. Raheem Mostert, Jerick McKinnon or Tevin Coleman, it really doesn’t matter which back gets the handoff. This running game is successful because of a dominate offensive line and Kyle Shanahan’s scheme. Somehow Gregg Williams needs to find a way for his defensive line to penetrate this stout offensive line and keep them off of his linebackers.
Sign Some Quality Receivers? – Okay, so that’s not actually possible at this point. Anyone have a time machine Joe Douglas can borrow?
Breshad Perriman, Chris Hogan and Braxton Berrios. Those are your fighters currently on the active roster. Not great, Bob! Josh Malone and Lawrence Cager will likely be called up to the active list on Sunday. DJ Montgomery and Jaeel Scott are the other two options.
The 49ers can be beaten through the air, hell they got beat through the air just last week. Of course they lost to a Kliff Kingsbury offense and this week they’ll face an Adam Gase offense. Is now the time to remind everyone the Jets could’ve and should’ve hired Kingsbury, which would’ve made it so they didn’t even give Gase an interview? No, now is not the time? Okay, moving on.
X-FACTOR: CHRIS HERNDON
The Jets offense was a mess last week. That wasn’t entirely unexpected. Still you would have liked to see more out of Herndon. Sam Darnold is going to need to play much better, but with Crowder and Le’Veon Bell out Darnold is going to need Herndon to do so. The Jets have two ways to win this game; hope Garoppolo throws a bunch of picks or have Herndon light up the 49ers defense. Shanahan isn’t likely to allow Garoppolo the opportunity to make too many mistakes, certainly not with George Kittle and most of their receivers banged up. We saw last season that Shanahan will gladly run the ball 30 straight times. So that means the Jets defense has to slow down the 49ers rushing attack and Herndon needs to have a huge day. That’s it, that’s the recipe.